The Aquavitro Division skimmer is an exciting new product from Seachem that strives to provides an ideal balance of features for a surprising price. Right off the bat it’s clear that these new Division skimmers are not going to be protein skimming monsters but they more than make up for it with a tried and tested design that leans more heavily a long contact time than massive quantities of air.
Seachem’s new protein skimmers are powered by Sicce-style Impulse pumps that inherit the best needle wheel features of the legendary Sicce PSK skimmer pumps. A different size & model pump is used on each of the Aquavitro Division skimmers which include the Division 125, 250 and 500 which are a useful naming convention since they designate the aquarium volume they are intended to filter. However upon closer inspection is appears that the needle wheel impeller of the Impulse pumps has been slightly tweaked with shorter pins, perhaps to increase the head pressure in these slightly taller skimmer bodies, but we haven’t compared them side-by-side with PSKs to confirm.
Before we even installed our first Aquavitro Division skimmer we were smitten by the interesting dual air silencer which we hope Seachem will offer separately as an upgrade to slurping skimmers with wee air silencers. Beyond that accessory, the unique modularity of Seachem’s new foamers makes them easy to service, easy to clean, the quick disconnect union fittings make it easy to clean the pump, and we’re really glad to see a new protein skimmer with an external pump again.
As if that weren’t enough, the Aquavitro Division skimmers are ready-made to be installed as recirculating skimmers for even more contact time and fine tuning of the dwell time of the raw tank water that is fed into the top inlet. This design feature might be foreign to some of the more novice reef builders but for some tanks, especially fish tanks or when used with ozone, recirculating water gives users the option to strip both light and heavy proteins.
Speaking of fine tuning, the screw based water level adjustment is quite different from other protein skimmers on the market. Using a screw to adjust the height of water inside the skimmer is not new, but Seachem’s implementation in the Aquavitro Division skimmer is different. Screws are widely used to open a bottom mounted outlet, but in the Division skimmer it is used to raise and lower the top mounted outlet for millimeter by millimeter for extremely fine control. And bless Seachem’s soul for using this screw the ‘right way’ since we absolutely loathe skimmer screw adjustments that don’t follow the lefty-loosy-righty-tighty convention.
Another nice design choice is the use of a large capacity protein skimmer cup with a nice, ergonomic handle for easier grip, and a cup drain for folks that like to extend the interval between protein skimmer cleaning and maintenance. The one compromise we see in the Aquavitro Division skimmers is that since it leans into the spinning foam design within the body, a fine filter sock is required to trap microbubbles that exit the protein skimmer body.
The outflow filter sock has the added benefit of quieting and muffling the exiting water and on the flip side, we’ve actually used this post-skimmer sock to hold chemical media in the past, essentially turning into a media reactor and recycling the preexisting flow of water. One thing we noticed about the Division 250 skimmer that we are currently using is that it not only started skimming right away, but the foam never collapsed when we had our hands in the sump while trying to get everything set up properly, a testament to the benefits of long contact time, and not overloading a skimmer with way too much air.
You might already have some notions of what a skimmer like this might cost but we were incredibly surprised to learn that Seachem has priced all of these skimmer models very aggressively. The Aquavitro Division 125 has a suggested price of $270, the Division 250 is just a little bit more at $325 and the largest Division 500 tops out at a really affordable $375 – that’s a lot of protein skimming performance for a very reasonable price.
One interesting quirk of the entire Aquavitro line is that they are not sold online and can only be purchased in person from brick and mortar stores. This might be disincentive to some who are sheltering at home and understandably apprehensive about going out in public, but they very attractive price should entice some reefers to go and support their local fish stores. It is incredibly refreshing to see a new protein skimmer line that isn’t yet another clone of other skimmers already on the market and the wide range of features and flexibility of the Aquavitro Division skimmers will certainly cultivate their own base of enthusiastic users.